Postcolonial Literature and the Impact of Literacy: Reading by Neil ten Kortenaar

By Neil ten Kortenaar

Reading pictures of literacy in African and West Indian novels, Neil ten Kortenaar seems to be at how postcolonial authors have thought of the act of writing itself. Writing arrived in lots of elements of Africa as a part of colonization within the 20th century, and with it a complete global of book-learning and paper-pushing; of faculty and paperwork; newspapers, textbooks and letters; candles, storm lamps and electrical energy; pens, paper, typewriters and revealed style; and orthography built for previously oral languages. Writing purely penetrated many layers of West Indian society within the related period. the diversity of writers is large, and contains Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and V. S. Naipaul. The chapters depend on shut analyzing of canonical novels, yet speak about basic topics and developments in African and Caribbean literature. Ten Kortenaar's delicate and penetrating therapy of those subject matters makes this an enormous contribution to the turning out to be box of postcolonial literary stories.

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What I mean is that, between the greasy walls of the classroom, the written text separated me from the fraternal rumour of the world. In order to discover my identity, I no longer lifted my head and listened for the harmattan. 19 Oduche’s new literacy is inseparable from the presence of Christian missionaries who established an Igbo orthography, published the primer he reads, and set up the school that he attends. The word for ‘Christians’ in many African languages (though not in Igbo) is the same as the word for ‘readers’:20 Christians are the People of the Book.

6 The gendered tasks were regarded as complementary:€when European mothers taught their sons to read, they thought of themselves as preparing future citizens who would take their rightful place in the nation of men. George Douglas Hazzledine’s The White Man in Nigeria, a 1904 imperialist text quoted several times without attribution in Arrow of God, imagined that young British boys would read the histories of Drake, Nelson, Clive, and Mungo Park and be moved to repeat their heroic exploits. 7 Hazzledine, who dedicates his book to his own mother ‘who let me go’, exhorts the young would-be imperialist to leave mother and childhood behind in order to become a man who can rule over other men supposed never to have left childhood.

57 The trope figures prominently in modern African literature as well, where the irony is less subversive. 60 Even where writing on paper is known, the scene of wonder is repeated. 61 In 1921, the eponymous trickster hero of Amadou Hampaté Bâ’s memoir L’Etrange Destin de Wangrin explains carbon paper to an associate:€‘a paper made with magic dye’ that ‘vomits on the sheet below it all that is printed on the page above. But this magic paper preserves on it all that it has vomited. And that is its magic.

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